Listening for a Change works to achieve its Mission through four dynamic programs: The Neighborhood Listening Project, Essence of Acceptance, Community Listening Project, and Inclusion & Connections. Each is a catalyst for change in achieving acceptance of diversity in our schools, neighborhoods and greater communities.
The Neighborhood Listening Project
The Neighborhood Listening Project is an oral history interview program for high school and junior high school students. Students cultivate oral history and active listening skills in preparation for interviewing successful adults who overcame difficulties, as well as “ordinary” neighbors and family members with stories to share. Listening for a Change staff collaborate with classroom teachers to teach oral history taking and to guide students to choose interviewees from their community. The students prepare and ask thoughtful questions, and create meaningful narratives through editing decisions. Together, community connections are forged, empathy developed, and social capital created. Click here to learn more and view the videos of oral history interviews conducted by students.
Essence of Acceptance
Appropriate for all students, Essence of Acceptance uses the techniques of oral history and the arts to teach diversity awareness thereby promoting cultural understanding. Students are taught “empathic listening” skills to interview community members who have suffered human rights violations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the human rights protections in the constitutions of various countries provide the academic framework for student exploration of the meaning of human rights.
Through trainings and consultations, social studies and language arts teachers receive instruction in teaching techniques and usage of curriculum materials. Community members from diverse cultural and ethnic groups share with the students their personal stories of discrimination and loss of human rights. Students are taught how to respectfully and formally record these oral histories and respond artistically to their experience to preserve and share the stories they hear. At the same time the students learn to apply lessons of the Holocaust and other instances of human rights abuse to current issues facing their community and the world. The students’ responses are then shared with the community at large in venues such as museums, libraries, schools, shopping centers and other public places. The Essence of Acceptance has been successful in traditional public school classes, private schools, high academic classes, and has reached at-risk young people in Court, Community and Alternative schools.
Community Listening Project
The Community Listening Project provides community groups with a human rights and diversity program to help heal fractures caused by socio-economic, racial and ethnic diversity and to forge a cohesive community identity. The Community Listening Project creates a deeper commitment to and acceptance of diversity among varying cultural groups. In addition, it promotes understanding across multiple barriers and brings communities and families together in new and meaningful ways. Our goal is to help produce systemic long-term transformation that will foster community problem-solving and understanding. Participants interview and make audio recordings of their neighbors. Stories are transcribed and sometimes shared with the larger community.
Inclusion & Connections
Inclusion & Connections in the workplace merges Listening for a Change‘s mission of “promoting understanding and acceptance of human diversity” and the need for employees to learn active listening skills to interact more effectively within their own work culture and with clients, customers and patients served. Workshops are designed for business, government and nonprofit organizations, to help create a more diverse, accepting work community.